Former World Cup-winning head coach Sir Clive Woodward has criticised Eddie Jones for an apparent refusal to experiment in England’s warm-up games against Wales.
England lost to Wales in the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon 13 – 6.
In 2003 a largely second-string England side hammered Wales 43 – 9 at the same venue. Tries for Stuart Abbott, Dan Luger, Lewis Moody, Dorian West and Joe Worsley humbled the Welsh in front of 66,000 strong home crowd.
A week later England would lose by a single point to France in Paris, again fielding a side made up of first, second and third choices across the team.
Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Woodward says Jones’ lack of experimentation could cost the 2019 England team in Japan.
“When the World Cup is done and dusted no one will remember or care about the result of these warm-up games,” stated Sir Clive. “But Eddie Jones might remember his failure to try out some of his options and it could come back to haunt him.”
Woodward pinpointed George Ford’s selection at flyhalf as an example of Jones’ failure to experiment with combinations.
“If Ford is going to have a stint at nine in Japan, play him at nine before we get there. If it costs you a warm-up game, it doesn’t matter. But it could come back to bite you further down the line if he has not had a run there,” Woodward noted.
“He (Eddie Jones) and his group of players will be judged on the World Cup… they will definitely not be judged on these games, so that is why they should be used for experimenting with different combinations.
“England did not bother with that, which was puzzling.”
England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones comments on the players who fell short of his 31 man Rugby World Cup squad including Ben T’eo.
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